Stage 5: Bute-Andrade II + Guzman-Funeka
Boxing Tribune editor-in-chief, Paul Magno could extend his lead over Title Bout Championship Boxing 2.5 this week, as Joan Guzman and Ali Funeka have split the pair.
We are blessed with another double-header as Stage 5 stages even more compelling action, as both competitors will try and correctly predict the outcome of the well deserved rematch between Lucian Bute and Librado Andrade, and Joan Guzman’s first real test at lightweight against Ali Funeka.
Can The Machine even things up?
Lucian Bute vs. Librado Andrade
Magno: In the first fight, Bute won 11 and a half rounds in a contest that was becoming boring because it was so one-sided. Andrade came on strong at the very end and made things memorable, but will that make a difference in the rematch?
I say, “yes.”
Andrade knows he can hurt and knock Bute out and he’s probably buying into the false notion that the ref saved Bute the first time. Confidence is a huge factor in boxing and Andrade will come in with an added sense of it.
However, technique still trumps King-King confidence and I see Bute pretty much following the blueprint of the first fight. Andrade will push harder, earlier, but Bute is still the better boxer.
Bute wins via UD in a more competitive bout than the first time.
Machine: The first bout was a farce. The second bout doesn’t strike the machine as competitive.
Look for the defending champion and hometown favourite Lucian Bute, to identically outbox and outfox his opponent and gain an early lead. He’s quicker, cleverer, but he lacks the cutting edge of his opponent to stop the Mexican.
In their first fight, Bute was gone. He had a 20 second count, and he was still gone. Andrade should have earned the knockout, but referee Marlon Wright had other ideas. That’s in the past. Andrade needs to forget all that, and focus on wearing Bute down. He has power, he has strength, but can he catch Bute often enough to stop the IBF champion?
Bute will win the first ten rounds, making Andrade look silly at times. But Bute will tire, and Andrade will quickly jump on his prey and brutally attack him for the remainder of the fight.
Can Bute survive Andrade’s barrage of punches in the final two rounds? Can Andrade turn in another remarkable late stoppage?
The answers to those questions is, no. Unfortunately for Andrade, and very fortunate for Bute, time will run out, and Bute will be victorious, by a near shutout unanimous decision. Andrade will kick himself, and Bute will plea for a place in the Super 6.
Joan Guzman vs. Ali Funeka
Magno: Make no mistake about it, Joan Guzman is a boxing machine, possessing a skill-set second only to the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Shane Mosley. The question about him is whether he has the hunger to push himself anymore.
Funeka, the lanky punching machine from South Africa, will test Guzman’s desire. In his performance against Nate Campbell, Funeka proved he belonged among the elite, but he did show some signs of cracking under pressure as a weight-drained Campbell nearly put him away late.
This will be a very tough fight for Guzman, but I see his reflexes and overall flexibility being the decisive factor. If Guzman really wants it, he will win.
A motivated Guzman takes some time to study Funeka and then begins to time his shots, moving in and out with greater fluidity as the fight progresses.
At the end of the night, a puzzled Funeka wonders how he could’ve thrown so many punches and landed so few.
Guzman via close UD
Machine: A more accurate prediction could be made after the weigh-in, as Guzman unprofessionally and out of character failed to make the lightweight limit against Nate Campbell, despite campaigning at a lower weight for most of his career.
Ali Funeka, was on the other end of another weight problem in a Nate Campbell fight. Campbell threw away his titles at the weigh-in, and they were up for grabs for the South African. In a very close fight that could’ve gone either way, Campbell won, but Funeka was the real winner, gaining popularity and recognition for his performance. He eventually, earned another title shot.
With both men likely to come in bang on the lightweight limit, the taller, clumsier Funeka will struggle to deal with the slippery Guzman early on. The first four rounds will be cat and mouse, with the ego-inflated mouse emulating the cartoon character Jerry, proving to be too quick for the natural lightweight.
As the rounds roll on, Guzman’s reflexes will slow down remarkably, and Funeka has proved that he grows as the fight goes on. A big right hand floors Guzman in the seventh with Funeka closing the show after three more tiring rounds. Ali Funeka the winner by 10th round stoppage.
Current Scores: Magno 5-1 (2 KOs), Machine 4-2 (1 KOs)